A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

Immigrants At Higher Risk Of Being Disconnected To Coverage And Care

The immigrant community has always been at the core of much of the work that Health Care For All (HCFA) does. HCFA’s HelpLine handles over 20,000 calls each year, and 50% percent of these calls come from individuals who do not speak English as a first language. Many of our callers are immigrants. Over the years, we have implemented outreach and educational activities in areas of Massachusetts with a higher concentration of foreign-born populations, such as Framingham, Chelsea, Lowell, Waltham, and Somerville. Even though health disparities persist, we have made great strides in connecting... Read more »

Equal Coverage for All Kids is Essential to Public Health in the Commonwealth

Well-baby and well-child visits, vaccines, eyeglasses, and dental services are the building blocks of a healthy childhood and provide an essential foundation for wellness throughout the life-span. Data shows that comprehensive Medicaid coverage facilitates access to this care in childhood, and although children’s health insurance coverage in Massachusetts is strong, gaps still exist. While we can be proud that 98% of the Commonwealth’s children have some form of health insurance, we must address the inequities that remain. Read more »

Good Oral Health a Key Component of Good Overall Health

Everyone should have the opportunity to have good health; oral health is an important component of this. In honor of National Public Health Week, we are highlighting the importance of oral health in maintaining the overall health of all people. Read more »

HCFA Excited to Participate in National Public Health Week - April 1-7, 2019

Today marks the first day of National Public Health Week (NPHW) organized by the American Public Health Association (APHA) to celebrate the importance of public health in protecting the health and well-being of all Americans. The theme for this year’s NPHW campaign is “Creating the Healthiest Nation: For science. For action. For health.” and Health Care For All (HCFA) is excited to join the campaign by sharing consumer health advocacy efforts underway in Massachusetts which, we believe, have direct impacts on improving public health in our state. More specifically, every day this week, HCFA... Read more »

Consumers Groups Push for Strong Transparency Provisions in Health Care Bill

Health Care For All, along with MassPIRG, Health Law Advocates, Community Catalyst and the Massachusetts Senior Action Council recently wrote a letter on the issue of drug transparency to the conferees meeting to work out a final health care bill. We urged the Conference Committee to include strong transparency measures to help tackle the problem of skyrocketing prescription drug prices. Prescription drug costs are currently the fastest growing healthcare expense – by far. For both public and private plans, increases in pharmacy costs far outpace every other expense. Rising drug prices are... Read more »

HCFA Recommendations to Health Care Bill Conference Committee

With both the House and Senate having passed ambitious health care bills this session, now a joint House-Senate conference committee is hammering out the differences to reconcile the two bills for final passage. Health Care For All recently provided comments to the legislature on our recommendations for provisions  to reduce health care costs, protect consumers, and strengthen our state’s health care system. While Massachusetts has the highest insurance coverage rate in the country, there is still progress to be made to improve the quality and affordability of health care in the Commonwealth... Read more »

2018 Democracy School: Building Health Care Power in Immigrant Communities

On Saturday, April 14th, in what seemed to be a precursor to the Boston Marathon, members of the Immigrant Healthcare Access Coalition (IHAC) steering committee completed their own long distance event – they ran the 2018 Democracy School: Building Health Care Power in Immigrant Communities. This training was part of a coordinated, on-going effort to inform immigrants and the groups that serve them about their health care rights. The training also aimed to dispel the growing fear and mistrust within immigrant communities that is preventing many individuals and families from seeking the health... Read more »

Health Disparities Bill Advances in State Legislature

Yesterday,  the legislature's Committee on Health Care Financing approved  H. 2048 / S. 608 An Act to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in the Commonwealth. The bill now goes to the House Ways and Means Committee. Its lead sponsors include Representatives Jeffrey Sánchez and Byron Rushing, and Senator Jason Lewis. Health Care For All has long supported this legislation ever since we helped draft the original bill in 2009 with a broad coalition of disparities advocates in our Disparities Action Network. Read more »

Two Bills Each Pass One Branch - Health Disparities; and No Shackling of Pregnant Prisoners

Two important bills each passed one branch of the state legislature last week. Now it's up to the other branch to finish the job. First is legislation addressing racial and ethnic health disparities. On March 20, H. 3888 passed the House and was sent to the Senate. Read more »

State Budget Includes Two Key Health Equity Provisions

  [Update - July 26 - The Governor signed the Fiscal Year 2019 budget today, and did NOT veto either of the health equity provision. Both of the provisions described below are now a part of state law. We are very thankful to the Governor and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services for their support of these important steps forward.] After weeks of delays, the conference committee reconciling the House and Senate budget bills released the final state budget proposal for this fiscal year. The budget includes two strong steps for health equity that we have been actively pushing for:... Read more »

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